Come Vinayaka Chaturthi and the first thing that comes to my mind is the yummy Kozhakattai (pronounced as ko-ḻa-cut-aye) that mom makes...They are rice flour dumplings stuffed with either a sweet or salty filling.
Here I give the traditional recipe from my mother.
Prep. Time : _____ I leave this empty! It is ofcourse a bit time consuming for beginners.... I took about 2- 2 1/2hours when I did it for the first time! uff... (end product is worth the effort though ;)) It will improve with practice.
The quantity given below makes around 45 Kozhakattais.
Rice: 1 1/4 cup
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Sesame Oil: 2 tblspn
Water: 2 1/2 cups
Fresh Coconut: 1 1/2 cup
Powdered Jaggery: 1 cup
Cardamom Powder: a few pinches
Uzhundu (Lentil) Filling:
Urad dal: 1 cup
Green chillies: 4-5 nos.
Hing: a few pinches
Fresh coconut: 1/4 cup
Chopped Corriander: 1/8 cup
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Oil: 1 tsp
Salt as per taste
1. For the covering:
Soak the rice over night. Grind the rice into a smooth paste by adding a little amount of water each time. The amount of water added shouldnt exceed twice the amount of rice used.
In a thick bottomed pan, add the sesame oil, the ground rice batter and salt.
On a medium flame, keep stirring the mixture. As the rice starts getting cooked, it will start forming lumps. Keep stirring (good exercise for your arms).
The contents will combine into one single mass.
The dough is done when there is a shine on the outer layer. Keep this closed with a lid.
To avoid the dough from becoming hard and cracked on the outside, you can cover it with a wet muslin cloth/ kitchen napkin and then cover the container with lid.
You can also prepare the same using ready made rice flour. The proportion for the rice flour and water is 3/4:1. I prefer the soaking method though.
2. Sweet Filling:
Take the coconut scrapings and jaggery in a thick bottomed pan. On a medium flame, heat the mixture. Keep stirring till all the jaggery is melted and the contents combine into a mass. This would take about 10-15 minutes. Add the cardamom powder and the filling is ready.
You can use either fresh/frozen coconut or the dry coconut powder. Fresh/frozen gives the best results. However, if you have just the dry coconut powder, follow the same procedure. In addition sprinkle some water when you start melting the jaggery.
3. Uzhundu (Lentil) Filling:
Soak the urad dal for about 2-3 hours. Grind the soaked dal, salt, chillies and hing into a coarse paste. In a pan, heat a spoonful of oil, add the mustard seeds.
Once they sputter, add the ground paste. On a low flame, stir the mixture.
As the dal starts getting cooked, it will become a powder.
Add the coconut and chopped corriander leaves and the Uzhudu filling is ready.
4. Putting it all together:
Now with the dough for the covering made in step 1, punch it like chapathi dough to make it workable (take small portions at a time). Use a mixture of sesame oil and water to avoid sticking of the dough.
Make small pouches out of the dough, fill it with sweet filling or urad filling and close the pouch.
Usually the sweet ones are made into a round shape, closing the pouch by pinching together the ends and the urad filled ones are made into a oval shaped pouch. The ends of the pouch are sealed well.
Keep all these closed with a wet muslin cloth.
Steam for about 10 minutes. I used idly plates and cooker to steam.
Yummy Kozhakattai is ready!
Unfortunately since my camera is damaged, I could only get the final dish with a cell phone. Will post the pics for individual steps next time.
Wishing you all a Happy Vinayaka chaturthi again! Ganesha Bappa Morya...God Bless.
Ciao till next time...Have fun! Vidya.